Mars Shifts Media to Starcom

Confection giant Mars is shifting its $500 million-plus media assignment from Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest to sister shop Starcom without a review, the company has confirmed.

The shift comes a week after MediaVest client Kraft added buying duties for recently acquired subsidiary Cadbury. Those chores are estimated at $120 million, and are in direct conflict with the Wrigley assignment.

The Mars shift will occur in two stages. Effective immediately (and in time for this year’s upfront market), Wrigley buying duties shift to Starcom. Planning chores for that $200 million plus assignment, as well as buying and planning duties for the remaining Mars assignment will shift later this year, the brand has confirmed.

A Mars representative said the shift was occurring to “resolve any competitive conflicts of interest with MediaVest and their current client roster.” The rep was referring to Wrigley, but didn’t site the brand specifically.

Mars added that the buying teams at MediaVest currently working on the Mars and Wrigley accounts would move with the business to Starcom. “We are excited to continue our partnership with SMG and to be able to maintain the relationships with our current buying teams,” the rep said.

An SMG rep said of the move: “MediaVest and Starcom are dedicated to building the best management and leadership solutions for our clients,” and the Mars realignment “is proof of this commitment.”